Reigning Asian Tour number one Scott Hend has provided a huge boost for this week’s Queen’s Cup by confirming his title defence at Santiburi Samui Country Club.

Scott HendThe long-hitting Australian, who is the most successful international golfer on the Asian Tour with nine victories and one Order of Merit crown, will be the top star attraction alongside home heroes Prayad Marksaeng, Thaworn Wiratchant and rising stars Phachara Khongwatmai and Rattanon Wannasrichan, the newly crowned Thailand Open champion.

“I'm looking forward to going back to defend my title. The win last year was really special as I had to fight hard on a golf course which is really demanding and challenging,” said Hend.

“I remember battling with Prom (Meesawat) and Gunn (Charoenkul) in the final round which was really fun and I hope to get myself into position again on Sunday afternoon to have a chance to defend my title.”

Hend’s star presence at the Queen’s Cup will complement the tournament’s growing stature as it will offer a record US$500,000 prize pot from June 15 to 18, 2017. The popular event is supported by long-time sponsors Bangkok Airways and Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT).

Thailand, known as the Land of Smiles, is a happy hunting ground for Hend who has triumphed on three occasions in the country. He won the 2013 Chiangmai Classic, 2016 Thailand Classic and last year’s Queen’s Cup, which propelled him to become the first Australian golfer to capture the prestigious Asian Tour’s Order of Merit crown.

“Winning the Queens Cup helped me become the new Asian Tour Order of Merit winner which is an accomplishment that I will always treasure. Asia is my second home,” said Hend, who has plied his trade with great success in the region since 2007.

Fellow Australian Todd Sinnott returns to the country where his remarkable 2017 journey began.

Sinnott lost a play-off to Richard Green at the Tour’s Qualifying School in Thailand in January after both recorded impressive 27-under-par scores for the four rounds, Sinnott’s including a final round 10-under 62.

Just two weeks after that performance the 25-year-old claimed his first Professional victory at the Japan Tour co-sanctioned Myanmar Open and has played predominantly in Japan since.

His appearance this week marks his first in an Asian Tour event not co-sanctioned with one of the world’s other circuits and he will be among the favourites in the field.

Like Hend, whose win last year was his ninth on the Asian Tour and confirmed his position as the most successful international player on the circuit, Sinnott is a long hitter and the course should suit his game.

Also teeing up at the Santiburi Samui Country Club in Koh Samui are Terry Pilkadaris and Scott Barr.

Pilkadaris makes his first appearance at the event since missing the cut in 2014 while Barr plays for the first time since 2012.